Many parents will agree that packing a wholesome lunch box and ensuring that the healthy foods make their way into tiny bellies poses a particular challenge. Chef Rock Harper, Season 3 winner of Hell’s Kitchen, National Celebrity Chef for the March of Dimes, and author of the forthcoming book 44 Things Parents Should Know About Healthy Cooking for Kids has some delicious solutions that make snacktime a snap. Here he shares six of his quickest, simplest, and most healthful snack ideas. Ideas so fun, delicious, and clever that kids will go gaga over them. Parents will, too. Chef Rock’s recipe for healthy, homemade chocolate milk is so good, mama’s may find it irresisible to steal a sip for themselves.
- Make your own “Lunchables”. These popular treats are loaded with trans fats and unnecessary preservatives but kids love the concept of them. Slice whole, cooked turkey into bite sized pieces and pair it with low-fat cheese and whole grain crackers like some from Kashi.
- Make a quick salsa. Combine chopped fresh tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil to make a tasty treat that your kid will gobble up with the addition of some baked tortilla chips.
- Mozzarella sticks to go. Kids love cheese and tomato sauce and they will love you for packing it. Make a quick Marinara the night before with tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper, then pack it along side organic string cheese for an instant hit.
- Applesauce is great for a reason- it’s really good. Make your own and allow the kids to help. If they like more cinnamon, let them put it in. Store bought apple sauce is ok, but often can be loaded with sugar that your kid doesn’t need. Cook it yourself and you will be in full control of your kid’s health!
- Kids love to build things and food is no different. Using a few small containers or baggies, let them make a parfait at school. Of course you pack their yogurt and then go nuts with their favorite toppings. Nuts, healthy granola, fruits and maybe even a little flaxseed are all possibilities to let your little chef build their snack themselves.
- It is easy to make chocolate milk…and the the syrup that your child can then take to school to mix with their milk. By making it yourself you take away all of the other junk that is loaded in flavored milk at school.
Chef Rock’s Chocolate Milk Mix
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2-3/4 cup Sweetener (agave nectar, turbinado sugar, honey, sugar cane juice, brown rice syrup)
1 cup water
Mix, boil for a minute and cool. Add to milk and that’s it!
Chef Rahman “Rock” Harper is the season 3 winner of FOX’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and the National Celebrity Chef for the March of Dimes. An award-winning, honors culinary graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Harper has held several positions at notable restaurants including Burke Station Restaurant, B. Smith’s Restaurant in Washington, D.C., and the Green Valley Ranch Resort, Spa and Casino outside Las Vegas. He most recently joined the staff at Stratford University and is sharing his wealth of culinary experience with America’s youth. His first book, 44 Things Parents Should Know About Healthy Cooking for Kids, will be released in October 2010 as part of Turner Publishing’s Good Things to KnowTM series.